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East Village near Webster Hall: Inexpensive place to go before show with 16 teenagers on a Saturday night

We are taking about 16 teenagers Saturday night to a show at Webster Hall in the East Village, taking the train into Grand Central Station, then a subway down to 14th street. We are looking for some inexpensive eats in the area before the show. Is there a place we where can get pizza or burgers that can acccomodate that many people without a reservation? We were looking for something like a Shake Shake that is counter service. We did that up on 8th ave near Times Square a few years ago for the same venue, but it was somewhat of a disaster because the seating was extremely insufficient at that Shake Shake, and we even brought a few less teenagers. We are spending so much on the show and transportation, we don't have another $30 a head to spend on dinner also. And there is a time element too, that's why an informal place is best, so we are not stressed out waiting for wait service and paying the bill which sometimes takes forever. I don't really know the area, so I don't know if there are places that have large informal dining areas.
This could be near Times Square too, but there are very few bargain places up there.
Thanks for any creative suggestions.

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  1. Whole Foods Union Square maybe? It will be tough getting seats all together anywhere that's casual though.

    You may end up needing to make a reservation somewhere unless you could eat standing up at somewhere like Joe's or Artichoke. Or in the park if the weather is nice.

    It's worth calling 5 Napkin just to see if they can accommodate you. Maybe if you break out into a few groups of 4-6. And let them know you need to be at a show afterwards.

    1. There are a lot of chain places on the northwest side of the park like Heartland and Chipotle.

      A good place to walk down is University Place (southeast side of the park). I know there's a Mexican place, also a Patsy's and a couple of other sit down Italian restaurants.

      I think Patsy's could be good for a big group of teens, but you really should call in advance just to inquire or give notice. :)

      1. Vapiano is about 4 blocks from Webster Hall, it's definitely large enough for your group, and they can score some pizza or pasta for about $15/pp, with a soda. It's counter service, and you pay before you get your food, so there's no waiting around for the check. The company website is a bitch to navigate, which is why I'm providing the menupages link:

        http://www.menupages.com/restaurants/...

        But if you wanna drive yourself nuts...http://www.vapiano.com/home/

        Don't expect spectacular food, 'cause you won't get it, but I think it'll suit your needs.

        1 Reply
        1. re: small h

          Patsy's on University and 10th St. for pizza and salads

        2. My nephew did mention Paty's and Artichoke. Patsy's may be a little higher end then I wanted, plus maybe hard to seat 18.
          Artichoke may be a problem with the standing.
          But I like the Vapiano idea. The highlight of the night is the show, not the dinner, so not a big deal if we don't get to sit at one big table.
          The kids are all from the suburbs, so they weren't raised on great NYC pizza like I was. So I don't think it would be a big deal if this is not as good pizza as Patsy's or Artichoke. The reviews sound good enough. We can always play it by ear if it's a nice sunny day and go with a stand up place option.

          1 Reply
          1. re: miketttt

            artichoke is either a major problem for the seating . . . or no problem, since there really isnt any seating at all.

            i just dont think the restaurant economics of the city can support an option that would satisfy your requirements. you want seating for 16 for 10 bucks a head? its not just a question of relaxing your standards of good pizza, im not sure anyone could afford the real estate it would take to serve groups that size in the price range youre talking about (as you noted in your previous shake shack experience).

            is there a reason youre opposed to a reservation, or is it just because you would (maybe rightly) assume reservations would put you out of your preferred price range? if youre taking a train into GCT and have a show to catch at webster hall i would assume youre operating on a fixed schedule.

            two potential options that you may want to investigate (including calling ahead about a reservation or set menu/price for your group) would be bare burger in on la guardia place - they have a very large patio, but its a bit further from the venu, or pop burger on university place. theyre both on the larger size for the area.

          2. How about Pommes Frites? Very bargain and very NYC, good for kids/teens, fun, can walk around and eat. Only caveat is it's french fries, but then the big plus is that it's french fries.